After a night out, it may seem like the responsible thing to do to sober up in your vehicle before driving home. This is actually not your best option, however, and can actually result in criminal charges. You can still get a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge for even being drunk while “sleeping it off” in your car.
According to California laws, the driver can be arrested if the officer finds them sleeping in their vehicle while intoxicated. California legislature even made a separate law that allows for an arrest of individuals who are drunk while in their vehicle, even if they are not currently operating the motor vehicle. Several elements, however, will still have to be factored in before a charge can be made.
The Governing Law on Sleeping in the Car While Intoxicated
Vehicle Code § VC 40300.5 was enacted to allow an officer to make an arrest for DUI as long as they have probable cause to believe that the intoxicated individual has been driving under the influence, through that he or she:
- May cause injury to self or damage property
- May destroy evidence of the alleged crime unless arrested immediately
- Was involved in a traffic accident
- Is in a vehicle that is obstructing a roadway
This newer statute favors law enforcement and makes it easier for prosecution to give proof of you driving. The details of your case do make a difference, but it is important to know that just because you are not physically driving does not mean you can totally avoid a DUI.
The jury must find that the person was driving beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on CALCRIM 2241, the jury instructions, it still must be proven that the vehicle was moved, even if this movement is only slight.
Arrested for DUI Without Actually Driving?
If you have been charged with DUI but were simply sleeping or resting in your vehicle, get an experienced DUI attorney by your side. We provide trustworthy legal advice and guidance for individuals throughout Santa Ana. Take a step forward by contacting us at your earliest convenience!